The Norman Law Firm Challenges Excessive Force

Johnson v. City of Seaford

Reginald Johnson alleged excessive force by Seaford police

A Dagsboro man has settled his civil lawsuit charging excessive force against the city of Seaford and a city police officer for $270,000.

The stipulation dropping the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court last week.

The incident that was the focus of Reginald Johnson’s suit was captured on video and showed two Seaford officers – who apparently believed that Johnson was someone else – pulling over Johnson’s car, demanding he get out and without allowing Johnson much time to respond, shooting him with a Taser and roughly handcuffing him.

Moments later, after Johnson protests that he has done nothing wrong, two officers can be heard laughing and one joking about planting drugs in Johnson’s car.

Adding insult to injury, the day of the 2011 incident was Johnson’s 43rd birthday.

In a statement released through his attorneys on Wednesday, Johnson said, “I hope this settlement sends the message that what they did to me is not OK, and constitutional violations like this will not be tolerated in the future, period.”

Seaford officials referred questions to the city’s attorney, who could not be reached for comment.

Johnson’s attorney, Stephen Norman, described the cash settlement as a significant victory for Johnson, noting that despite Johnson’s rough treatment that night, he did not sustain any significant physical injuries and, therefore, could seek little in the way of damages related to medical costs.

Norman also said that this resolution meant a quick and final settlement to the case, whereas if the matter had gone forward to a trial, a final resolution could have taken years if it went to an appellate court.

Norman said there were no settlement terms demanding training or other non-monetary measures from Seaford. Norman said he hopes that exposing the bad behavior of the Seaford police in this incident – along with the financial pain associated with the payout – will put pressure on the city to change the way Seaford police operate.

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